The holidays come with their own source of pressure. We change our routines, we spend money that we may not have, and we travel. Because we are such routine oriented creatures, all of this can lead to stress. Some people also struggle with depression, sadness, and grief during the holidays. Many of these same people have a difficulties coping with guilt. The holidays are assumed to be a time where everyone is “happy”. But what if you’re not happy? Pressuring yourself to feel a way other than how you actually feel can lead to further issues. However accepting the negative emotions can be the first step in overcoming the source of these feelings.

The first step to feeling better is stop denying yourself of negative emotions. Although this sounds counter-intuitive, you can become so good at suppressing negative emotions, you can become better at being number rather than content. Everyone experiences negative emotions at some point in your life. No time is ideal to experience these and pressuring yourself to stop feeling this way will not help. Therefore, I recommend that people look at the negative feeling as information to be processed, rather than avoided.

If you experience depression, anxiety, or grief during the holidays, some time and space may be helpful. Many times people struggle to find time to themselves during holiday events. More often, however, people forget to give themselves this time. Making time for yourself can help you work through your thoughts. You can then identify what the source of the problem is, and create a plan on how you will go about handling it, instead of constantly being distracted by family activities.

You can also ask someone close to you for support. This may occur in person or on the phone, but talking through your feelings may be beneficial. Call your partner or talk with a close family member about your life, your stress, your relationships, or whatever you are thinking about. Getting such feedback from someone could help you better understand why you currently feel as negative as you do. No matter what, remember that it is fine to feel negative emotions during the holidays. If you accept the negative feelings, you are more likely to feel content. However if you try to avoid this, you are likely to decrease your chances of enjoying this time of year.

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